Innovation and entrepreneurship are undoubtedly the hot-shot words of the decade with innumerous startups changing the face of our markets today. At a point where our IT infrastructure and technology is touching the heights of success we are always tempted to ask, “What next?”
We are living in an age where education is accessible to most of our generation, but there will soon come a time when there will not be enough job opportunities for all of us. What would then be our next step? How would we contribute to the growth of our economy? How would we sustain ourselves? It is a massive challenge that lies right in front of us and needs due attention.
Coming from a university that lays special emphasis on science and technology, I believe creativity in research and innovation are our key strengths. With creativity itself being a very difficult concept to imbibe, it is an exceptionally demanding task to accommodate creativity in a traditional education system.
When I look at the mechanism by which our education system runs, I have this feeling that we are merely being moulded in a “better way” to eventually work for companies, under somebody else. But what if we could thrive by working for ourselves, with all our passion? What if we could make a product of our own and see them reaching the masses, adding an element of efficiency in the way our world runs today? What if we could leave behind something to be used by future generations and etch our names in the pages of history forever?
Startups have revolutionized the world in a way like never before and have encouraged young and agile minds to take up risks to establish their own businesses in a cutthroat market. Job creation and job destruction are two processes that take place simultaneously and add a balance to our business ecosystem. According to the Kauffman Foundation Research Series, existing firms lose more jobs than they create jobs because they have to continuously regulate their finances and cut costs to keep themselves alive in the cruel market. On the other hand, startups have the ability of creating new jobs because they do not have to experience gross job destruction in their year of initiation. In fact, the study highlighted that firms in their first year of existence added an average of three million jobs per year, in the United States.
Most of us at KAIST today will be working in different fields, contributing to the world economy; but let’s think, “What could be something that could set us apart from being just employees under a boss?” Maybe we could be our own bosses with our own startups and venture companies! What we need is the courage to be able to convert our thoughts into actions, an idea into execution. Every day of our lives, ideas come to our minds, but we have learnt to live by ignoring them every single time. What if we could come up with something new, something dynamic to cater to the existing need for that new something? Who would then stop us?
How can we as university students achieve this? As the oft-heard saying goes, “Every drop fills up to make an ocean.” A small step at an individual level could go on to become something trend-breaking. If you have always wanted to have a club of your own, which might not be present on campus, make efforts to build that club on your own! Spend time on something you are really passionate about, and see it change your life.
The only thing that stops most of us from venturing out is the fear of failure. But even those moments of failure can become the greatest teachers of our lives, helping us to build courage and the confidence to achieve greater things in the future. If Edison was demotivated and halted his experiments, we wouldn’t have the light bulb today! Usually, we end up giving up right before achieving our dreams. So do not give up, hold on to your dreams, and turn them into reality!
This just reminds me of the poem The Road not Taken by Robert Frost:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
So which road will you take? And what difference will you make?